CatholicNews ■ Sunday September 16, 2007

11

PEOPLE

By Joyce Gan WENDY OOI, A Daugher of St. Paul Sister and a Catholic News writer, left the staff and Singapore on Tue Aug 28 on the next lap of her journey – one that takes her to Los Angeles. In the next few months, Sister Wendy will be updating herself in the media industry with Paulist Productions, a Catholic production house based in Los Angeles that creates films and television programmes with the aim of “revealing Godʼs presence in contemporary human experience”, she says. Next year she is scheduled to be in Kenya. “I will help in producing catechetical videos, in the apostolic formation of our novices and I will have the opportunity to carry out some mission work in Sudan,” Wendy shares. Wendy made her final profession on Mar 25, 2003. Prior to that, she was a television producer cum broadcast journalist with then Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), todayʼs MediaCorp. She shares that she had “never

IF YOU HAVE ever wondered who ensures that the lecture rooms at the Catholic Archdiocesan Education Centre (CAEC) are ready for lectures and conferences, or if youʼve ever wondered about the person who greets each person who attends those talks and conferences with a smile, itʼs Roy Tan, Assistant Building Manager of CAEC for the last seven years. But Roy, whose hobbies include car-racing and sketching, has been reflecting on a return to the secular world. “Godʼs been leading me there,” he said. “Maybe the little light that I have can shine on others out there.” Roy left his position on Aug 31. ■

wanted to be a Sister but when the Lord calls and youʼre open to do his will, you canʼt escape!” Her first encounter with the Daughters of St. Paul was through a small vocation advertisement in the Catholic Digest. “I was impressed that such a ʻmodernʼ congregation existed and I was attracted by their mission to use the media to evangelize because that was my desire too,” she recalls. With that, she visited the Daughters of St. Paul in Malaysia and the Philippines to experience their life of prayer and mission – all the while, a “reluctant vocation”, she admits. “I didnʼt think I was ʻholyʼ enough but the Lord calls sinners and saints alike so after a silent retreat, I decided to surrender myself to his will, believing that only in so doing would I obtain inner peace and true joy,” she says. Since then, Wendyʼs mission as a Daughter of St. Paul was to carry out various forms of apostolate that has to do with “using the media at the service of Godʼs Word and todayʼs culture to spread the message of Godʼs love”. After her profession of perpetual vows in 2003, Archbishop Nicholas Chia had requested for her to contribute to CatholicNews. “Since this is very much in line with our apostolate, we were

happy to oblige and grateful for the opportunity to serve our local church in a direct way.” She adds, “Whatʼs really interesting is that our very first mission as Daughters of St. Paul was to set up a diocesan newspaper in Susa, Italy, the next diocese to Alba where our Sisters were founded.” Of all the many articles that Wendy has written, four come to mind when asked what was most memorable about her work with

Catholic News. One was a feature article on the environment – “I was thankful for the opportunity to enlighten our readers on creation spirituality and how we can be kinder to the planet and the environment”; the series on religious life – “It was edifying to see the beauty of each congregationʼs charism and how each is contributing to the building up of the one body in Christ.”; the series on religions – “Iʼm ever more convinced that no religion can say they have exclusive claim to the Truth or salvation” and of course, her interview with Olivia Newton-John. An Olivia Newton-John admirer for the last 30 years, Wendy says the interview was a “dream come true”. “It was most satisfying to hear a CatholicNews reader comment after he had read the article, ʻOlivia is more Catholic than I am!ʼ” For now, Sister Wendy Ooiʼs journey has taken her away from Singapore. To this, she says, “Itʼs never easy when you have set up roots and then have to leave. It wasnʼt easy to leave the ministries I was involved with, friends and family but God always writes straight in crooked lines so I see his loving hand in my new assignment and trust that he will always be with me, come what may.” ■

By Joyce Gan SINCE THEIR SCHOOLS days, Roseanne Wee and her twin sister Rosemary have been helping out at churches and attending the novena faithfully. They were baptized in 1996 at the Holy Family parish and have since been using their culinary skills to help others. Before that, Roseanne was looking after cancer patients at the Little Sisters of the Poor Home at Upper Thomson Road. Roseanne was assigned to look after Louisa, 93. Her daily routine was to sponge and feed Louisa and they grew very close. When Louisa died, Roseanne was so stricken with grief that she decided that she didnʼt want to look after cancer patients anymore. “I want to cook,” she decided, and that was how Roseanne joined Rosemary in the kitchen. To be able to do this, Roseanne, then working as a supervisor at SingTel, changed to the 5pm to midnight shift. By doing this she could cook for about 200 persons at the home from 9am to 4pm daily. She did this from 1997 till 2002 when the Little Sisters of the Poor left Singapore. Roseanne has many fond memories of the home. She recalls an incident when the

residents requested for a feast one Chinese New Year. “But there were no volunteers as it was Chinese New Year. I wondered what to do before I went to the chapel to pray,” she recalls. “And then, 16 students showed up to volunteer their help. Although they didnʼt know how to cook, they helped prepare such a good dinner,” Roseanne said with a laugh, “though they did mess up the kitchen”. Roseanne then used her culinary skills at Tan Tock Seng Hospitalʼs Hospice Care Association (HCA) for a year. “I was the first to organize birthday parties for them,” she beamed as she displayed photographs of some of those parties. “The patients were touched and cried because they said that their children didnʼt really celebrate for them.” “Whenever they have an urge to eat some food, I will quickly buy it and prepare it for them… sometimes just a day before they die,” she said. Part of the money, some $400 a month to buy the food, were donated by her colleagues at SingTel. Roseanne left HCA because her blood pressure shot up that year from the stress of having

to cook twice a week at her Toa Payoh home, then delivering the food in a taxi, and then washing the many pots and pans at night after her work at Singtel.

“After the hospice, it felt like God was calling me to do more,” Roseanne said. An Indonesian friend asked her to cook at a Carmeliteʼs religious and retreat house in Tambunan, Sabah. This place was located in a jungle, on Sabahʼs second highest mountain. “I went to take a look… and

straightaway I started!” she laughed. Roseanne had retired from the SingTel job by then and she cooked for the Carmelites from January to November 2005, spending two months there, then return to Singapore for two months, before heading back to Sabah. There were only 22 Carmelites there on ordinary days, but when there were retreats, she had to cook for about 1,000 people. Roseanne was then introduced by an Anglican friend to a hostel for children in Kota Marudu, Sabah. It was a bare place set up by two Assisi nuns with their Mother Superior and a priest who visits about three times a week. The nuns would go into the jungle to evangelize to the Kadazan-Duson natives whose custom was to marry at about age 11 and give birth to as many as 14 children. They had minimal facilities. So they entrusted the children to the nuns, who brought them back to the hostel. Roseanne found herself looking after the children (photo), caring for them and telling them about Jesus Christ, in addition to cooking for them. She built a proper bathroom at the hostel for them from a $4,000 donation from a friend.

Sister Theresa Chai, a Good Shepherd Sister from Sabah, then

approached Roseanne for help. She readily agreed. “My duty is to teach about 50 expecting mothers how to cook, bake, cut hair and other life skills,” she said. “We will do craftwork and hold food fairs. The money earned will help to defray costs for the Sisters and to pay for the necessities for these mothers.” If all goes well, Roseanne will be headed there in November. “Iʼm trying to go early because theyʼre expectant mothers, mostly unmarried, so I have to teach them (certain life skills) before they give birth and have to return to their kampong,” Roseanne confided. For the moment, she is consolidating materials for the mothers to work on – such as creating Bible carriers and making rosaries – as well as preparing to help them read the Bible. Roseanne speaks about the joy she has found in doing what she does: “I feel so happy especially when I see people eat. I am so touched because God has given me strength to cook. Iʼve been approached for business many times but I always turn these down. I just want to do Godʼs work.” Roseanneʼs sister Rosemary is in Singapore, still working, and helping Roseanne with funds to help people. ■